“Renewable energies they beat fossil fuels. ” Renewable energy is a historic overtaking given that in the first six months of 2020 they generated 40% of EU-27 electricity, thus surpassing fossil fuels for the first time, which stop at 34%. This is what emerges from the new report of the independent think tank on climate Human which explains how, consequently, CO2 emissions of the energy sector decreased by 23% for the same period. “This marks a symbolic moment in the transition of the electricity sector in Europe ”, he comments Dave Jones, senior analyst di Ember.
Renewable energy has increased dell’11% in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period last year. This was driven by the wind and solar growth (respectively 11% and 16%), with new installations and favorable conditions during a mild and windy start of the year. The wind and solar sectors have seen unprecedented market shares this year, generating 21% of total European electricity and reaching even higher levels in Denmark (64%), Ireland (49%) and Germany (42% ).
Compared, hydropower it generated 13% of electricity in Europe, increasing by 12% compared to the same period last year due to the wetter conditions in the Nordic and Iberian regions. The bioenergy generated 6% of electricity in Europe in the first half of 2020, although a small part (15%) is generated by forest biomass combustion replacing coal in power plants, thus not providing the same climatic benefits of renewable energies as wind and solar. Despite this, renewable energies – in particular wind and solar – have shown resilience even during the crisis.
German coal was the hardest hit, with a collapse of production by 39%. For the first time, Germany has produced less coal-fired electricity than Poland, which now generates the same amount of electricity from coal as the remaining 25 EU countries (excluding Germany) combined. Unlike most other EU countries, in fact, Poland does not plan the gradual elimination of coal but its transition remains fundamental for a zero-emission Europe. Now, however, according to Dave Jones, “for countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, struggling with finding the right way to get rid of coal, there is a clear way out. The new Green Deal European will provide both new investments in the wind and solar sectors and the possibility of moving away from coal through an expanded Just Transition fund. This would help complete Europe’s transition from coal to clean electricity. “
With steady growth in renewable energy generation, market share remaining for fossil fuels is already decreasing. This year, the study points out, the fossil fuel industry suffered a double hit, including a 7% drop in electricity demand during the coronavirus crisis that left them with even less to compete with. This resulted in a drop of 18% in the production of fossil fuels in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year. As the most expensive source of electricity, coal suffered the blow, falling by 32%, with a production of anthracite falling by 34% and lignite falling by 29% compared to 2019. Coal generated only 12% of the electricity of the EU-27 in the first half of 2020. Gas production also fell by 6%.